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The Eager Beaver

August 6, 2011

Two of our school age children are still young enough to become very excited by the approach of the new school year. Our oldest is of an age where showing excitement just isn’t cool, while the twins are basically focused on wrecking the house. School to them still means standing at the window waving bye-bye to the older kids.

I’ve found myself emulating the elementary school kids as the EMBA program draws near. Although I would have thought that I’m of an age where school just isn’t cool, I’m surprised to say that I am excited by the newness of it all, the opportunity to meet new friends, have sleepovers in Boston, find out who the cool teachers are, and generally explore.

I must admit that after getting my acceptance notice, I went online to the MIT Coop store, where I bought myself an MIT Sloan hat. I’ve been wearing it the past month or two, having put my CMU and Pitt hats aside. When I iChat with my colleagues, I’ve noticed that inset image is actually a mirror image, as my hat reads “TIM”.

The hat aside, I found myself leafing through the program syllabus and contemplating the various courses that I will soon be taking. On a bit of a whim, I decided that I should like to get an early start in accounting, as it’s my weakest area. I can read a balance sheet and an income statement, but I really have very little experience in constructing financial statements. I sent an email off to the professor that I thought would be teaching the course this fall, asking for the name of the textbook, that I might start reading it now. I was pleasantly surprised that I got a quick response, from a different professor informing me that he would be teaching the course this fall, providing me with the name of the text, and inviting me to email any questions that I might have prior to the start of the course. I think that exchange said much for MIT Sloan. I am already impressed by the faculty’s enthusiasm and I have yet to attend a single class.

In the evenings, I spend my time reading the accounting text. I’ve already learned a great deal more than I knew about the construction of financial statements, sufficiently to increase my admiration for one of my business partners who took on the task of setting up our accounting system with no prior experience in accounting whatsoever. Our accounting firm has often commented to me of their admiration for her ability to learn such a complex subject so quickly. My own lack of experience in the area prevented me from properly comprehending her performance. I called her, albeit a year after she had set up the accounting system, to praise her for her work, explaining that I had only now developed the capacity to understand the magnitude and quality of her work. This was perhaps the first indication of how the EMBA program might make me a more capable leader, by providing me with the capacity to better appreciate the work that others carry out in our companies.

-R.

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